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Self Confidence … Your Most Important Life Skill

January 16, 2019

From the quiet analytical physician to the superstar professional athlete to the composed musician, self-confident people have qualities everyone admires.

Self-confidence is an attitude that is characterized by a positive belief that you can take control of your life and of your plans.  It is a belief in your abilities.  Confidence is the state of being certain that a chosen course of action is the most effective given the circumstances.  People who are self-confident are those who acknowledge their capacity to do something and then proceed to do these things.  They do not rely on the approval of other people in order to affirm their existence.  It is enough that they know they have the capacity and the potential to do something, and the guts to do it no matter what others may say.  People who are self-confident take advantage of opportunities that come their way.  Self-confidence can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, as those without it may fail or not try because they lack it and those with it may succeed because they have it.

To be successful in the business of insurance and risk management, you must be confident.  Confident in your approach.  Confident in your communication skills.  Confident in your team.  Confident in your technical know-how.  Confident in the manner in which you deliver your services.  And confident in the face of rejection.  Learning how to be confident is the single most important life skill you will ever acquire.  It impacts your happiness, success and well-being.  All other desirable qualities use confidence as the foundation.

Historically, confidence was thought of as an innate personal trait – some were born with it, others were not.  However, more recent research substantiates that confidence is learned and developed.  Nobody is born with confidence.  People begin to develop confidence while growing up.  The role of parents in installing self-confidence in children is essential.  Parents who are critical of their children without acknowledging their strengths unknowingly damage the development of self-confidence.  On the other hand, parents who give support and encourage children to move forward will likely rear self-confident children.

Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can, you can.  And if you think you can’t, you are right.”  Knowing how to be confident is all about believing in yourself.  Learning to be confident starts with small challenges and gradually builds up to bigger ones.  Confidence is built one step at a time.  You must realize that even those people who appear to be very self-confident acquired this trait over time.  You acquire confidence through key attributes including:

  • Knowledge. Education, research, analysis, investigation, observation and, most importantly, firsthand experience.
  • Skill. Your ability to effectively utilize this knowledge.
  • Your belief that you have the ability to control outcomes.

In learning how to be confident, it is essential that you understand that confidence is under your control.  It is not controlled by someone else.

Self-confidence is about balance.  There are people with low self-confidence.  At the other extreme, there are people who are over confident.  Over confident people often take too much risk, stretch themselves beyond their capabilities and eventually run into road blocks.

Over-confidence is having unmerited confidence – believing that something or someone is capable when they are not.  Choking refers to losing confidence, especially self-confidence, just at the moment when it is needed most and doing poorly as a result.

The confident person risks security and comfort to achieve higher levels of growth and independence.  They have the ability to see obstacles as opportunities.  Each day begins and ends with a sense of clarity, simplicity and a purpose.  Let’s study the actions of individuals with both high and low self-confidence:

self confidence table

Sadly, people with low self-confidence live in a vicious circle.  Their lack of confidence makes it difficult to be successful.  And their inability to experience success brings on negativity.  People with low self-confidence live in a daily condition of anxiety, confusion and fatigue.  Their self-image is a paralysis impaired by their inability to live with a sense of purpose and passion.

Highly self-confident people feel in control.  They have the ability to shut out distractions, establish priorities, make sound judgments, create strategies and carry them out effectively.  They make good use of their strengths and resources.  Most importantly, self-confident individuals possess an ability to create value for themselves and those around them.

In the complex and turbulent world of insurance and risk management, it is easy to lose confidence in one’s ability to control the outcome of our actions.  This lack of perceived control leads to indecision and/or impulsive actions.  As a result, necessary actions are avoided, delayed or, when acted upon, are often poorly carried out.

Your self-confidence is at its highest peak when you have:

  • A Unique Process. A differentiated strategy in the marketplace.  A “competitive” advantage.
  • The ability to observe situations clearly so not to be over or under confident.
  • The ability to see obstacles as opportunities.
  • The recognition and celebration of your successes.
  • Focus on what you do best.  Consider your unique attributes and abilities.
  • Positive relationships with others fosters a sense of self-worth that contributes to your self-image.
  • Set Goals. A confident person creates visions and sets goals.  Visions will allow you to see yourself at some point in the future, while goals offer a road map to reach these visions.  Goals enhance your confidence because you can measure yourself against benchmarks.

Knowing how to be confident is a matter of strategy.  Start by acknowledging your abilities and talents, avoid situations that discourage you from gaining confidence and seek opportunities to enhance your self-esteem.  Success breeds confidence.  Confidence breeds success.  Confidence…Your Most Important Life Skill.

About the Author

Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA is the CEO of Beyond Insurance and is recognized as an industry leader having been named a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as well as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.” Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level.  Since 2007, the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed individuals and organizations as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace.

12 Strategies for Building Your Personal Brand

January 4, 2019

Editor’s note: Earlier, we looked closely at Michael Jordan and the personal brand he was able to create for himself. In the second part of this series, we look at 12 strategies that you can utilize to build and grow brand YOU!

12 Strategies to Build Your Personal Brand

  1. Discover your natural strengths and unique abilities. You will gain enhanced success as you focus on your God-given talents as well as those activities that give you energy and enthusiasm.
  2. Emotionally engage the customer. Research substantiates that more than 50% of the customer experience is subconscious, or how the customer feels. Emotional engagement is the foundation of the customer experience journey.
  3. Create a positive first impression. An “impression” is a strong effect produced on one’s intellect, feelings or conscience. As your first impression is lasting, it is critical that you make it a good one.
  4. Deliver a unique message. Your brand requires a value proposition which is clear, concise and compelling. Your message must summarize why the potential customer should buy your products or services and how they exceed that of your competition.
  5. Live servant leadership. A strong personal brand is achieved through a selfless approach to leadership… one that places serving others including customers, community and country as priority number one.
  6. Be process, not product driven. Today’s consumers have come to expect you to sell them products. Your brand will be enhanced when you lead with a process, not product-oriented approach. Process is best defined as a series of actions or steps to achieve a particular end.
  7. Invest in relational capital. Your ability to invest in the qualities of credibility, integrity and authenticity will elevate your brand and help you to build deeper relationships.
  8. Teach the customer something they don’t know. Today’s customers are demanding more depth and expertise from insurance and risk management professionals. Your brand will take off when you bring new ideas and find innovative ways to help their family and/or business.
  9. Know your ideal client. Professionals with the strongest personal brands have laser focus on their ideal client. And they are recognized for their expertise in an industry and/or product line.
  10. Statement of purpose. In crafting the purpose of your professional existence, you will gain clarity and confidence about your personal brand. When you map out your principles and point of view, you are hard to replicate.
  11. Become a story teller. Storytelling is the art of using language, visualization and/or physical movement and gestures to reveal the elements and images to a specific audience. Storytelling enhances brand awareness, trust, communication and differentiation.
  12. Social media strategy. It is essential that you discover your customers’ preferred online communication channels. Use social media to its fullest to demonstrate the unique and authentic you.

Although the brand of Michael Jordan may seem far reaching, there are many lessons that can be learned and applied to your career. Your personal brand… own it!

About the Author

Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA is the CEO of Beyond Insurance and is recognized as an industry leader having been named a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as well as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.” Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level.  Since 2007, the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed individuals and organizations as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace.

Personal Branding… Lessons Learned from Michael Jordan

January 2, 2019

Although Michael Jordan may have last laced up his high tops in 2003, he now ranks first in Repucom’s Celebrity DBI, which tracks awareness and consumer sentiments for nearly 4,000 celebrities in the U.S.  Jordan is now the most marketable person in the U.S., ahead of icons such as Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Tom Hanks.  He posts top 10 scores for aspiration, endorsement, and influence. And Jordan’s awareness level is unrivaled at 98%.

Jordan has evolved into one of the most marketed sports figures in history. He has been a major spokesman for such brands as Nike, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, Gatorade, McDonald’s, Ball Park Franks, Rayovac, Wheaties, Hanes, and MCI.  Jordan has had a long relationship with Gatorade, appearing in over 20 commercials for the company since 1991, including the “Be Like Mike” commercials in which a song was sung by children wishing to be like Jordan.

The Jordan brand remains a cash cow for its owner Nike and its namesake MJ. You may be interested to learn that total retail shoe sales hit $3 billion last year with a market share of 64% in basketball compared to 29% for Nike-proper, 3.6% for Under Armour, and 2.3% for Adidas. And Nike has bigger plans with a goal of doubling the brand’s revenue by 2020.

The real power of Jordan has revealed itself in the sense that his earning power has transcended from his athletic years into his personal brand after his athletic retirement.  In 2015, Jordan became the first billionaire NBA player in history and the world’s second-richest African-American behind Oprah Winfrey and Robert Frederick Smith. In addition to his riches, Jordan is ranked as the greatest athlete of all time in a poll that goes through all the major sports:

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Babe Ruth
  3. Muhammad Ali
  4. Serena Williams
  5. Peyton Manning
  6. Joe Montana
  7. LeBron James
  8. Tiger Woods
  9. Tom Brady
  10. Wayne Gretzky

Source:  Stanford University Sports Business Report

So, how has Jordan’s brand taken off even though he is no longer visible on the court?  Simply put, he is still relevant, bold, and cool.  And he is seen as doing things “differently” as he did in the NBA when he accepted a $5,000 per game fine for wearing shoes that were not one solid color.  Personal branding extraordinaire – Michael Jordan.

Personal Branding. What Is It?

Personal branding is the method people use to market themselves and their careers as brands.  It is the process of establishing an image or expression in the minds of others.  In the book, Be Your Own Brand, David McNally and Karl Speak convey that a strong personal brand means that you are communicating your sense of purpose, vision, and value that reflects and embodies the real you.  Personal brand is the “perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you,” state McNally and Speak.

Your personal brand is all about you, as a person, but in a more public sense of how you project your image to the outside world.  Personal branding includes the perceptions, qualities, and characteristics people associate with you, your name, how you conduct yourself, and your professional position.  In a very fundamental sense, your personal brand is your reputation.  It is what people say about you when you leave the room.  The most successful personal brands are an authentic reflection of that person’s true qualities.  Consistency is also essential in personal branding.  The more customers experience the same values and emotions through each interaction with you, the more they will trust, respect, and value a similar relevant experience every time. You earn your brand. It is the reward for the hard work of building meaningful and authentic relationships with your audience.

You should view your personal brand as a trademark, an asset that you must protect while continuously molding and shaping.  Glenn Llopis, contributor to Forbes, states, “developing your personal brand is essential for the advancement of your career.  Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving.” That being said, a survey conducted by the Glenn Llopis Group evidenced that less than 15% of professionals have fully defined their personal brand, and less than 5% are living it consistently at work.

In your quest to enhance your personal brand, there are six related terms and strategies that will help you:

Brand Identity – a set of individual components, such as a name, a design, a set of imagery, a slogan, a vision, etc. which set the brand apart from others.

Brand Awareness – the consumer’s ability to recall and/or recognize your brand.  This is a key component in the customer’s purchase decision process.

Brand Communication – relates to your ability to transmit a clear, consistent message to your target audience.

Brand Trust – the intrinsic believability in your brand

Brand Differentiation – the degree to which the consumer is able to distinguish your brand from others in the marketplace

Brand Equity – the totality of your brand’s worth. People pay more and stay loyal to brands they trust.

It is important to note that a personal branding strategy does not mean self-promotion.  Rather, the value you consistently bring in serving others.  Every time you are in a meeting, at a conference, or involved in a customer engagement, you should be mindful of what others are experiencing about you and what you want others to feel and sense.  The more you express your natural self, the more successful the interaction.

Social Media and Personal Branding

Michael Jordan has over 27 million Facebook fans, and the Nike-run Jordan Twitter account has 1.7 million followers.  Social media wasn’t even a thing when Jordan retired, but that does not mean that he hasn’t used it.  Just the opposite.  Michael Jordan has adapted his marketing and brand to the latest techniques.

Today, personal branding has created great interest because of the rise of the Internet.  The growth of the virtual world has created the necessity of managing online identities.  Because Individuals want to portray themselves a certain way to their social circle, they work hard to maintain a certain image on their social media sites.  Far too often, the social media presence does not reflect the authentic personal brand they desire in the business environment.

While social media can be an aid in your personal branding initiatives, it is essential that you realize that developing your personal brand is a never-ending journey that extends well beyond social media.

As you may have experienced first-hand, employers are now increasingly using social media tools in order to vet applicants before offering them interviews. Such techniques range from searching the applicants Facebook or Twitter feed to conducting large background checks using search engines and other tools.

Editor’s note: Now that we know what makes up a personal brand, the next step is to build your own personal brand. Check out our article on 12 strategies for building your personal brand.

About the Author

Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA is the CEO of Beyond Insurance and is recognized as an industry leader having been named a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as well as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.” Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level.  Since 2007, the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed individuals and organizations as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace.

Finding Your Unique Ability by Trusting Your Instincts

December 30, 2018

Editor’s Note: In part one of this series, we defined unique ability and described the four common activity zones. Now, in part two, we are going to help you identify your unique ability.  Spoiler alert: the secret is to trust your instincts.

Discovering Your Unique Ability

How do you discover your Unique Ability?  How do you systematically identify activities that consume your life and drain your energy?  How do you identify tasks that fill your bucket with excitement, passion and purpose?  I would like to suggest that you begin with the Kolbe A Index™ (www.kolbe.com).  Developed by Kathy Kolbe, the Index is a proven and reliable tool to assess your instinctive and natural approach to creative problem solving.  It is unique from any other mental measurement tool because there are no right or wrong or good or bad answers.

Kolbe’s definition of success is the freedom to be yourself – to appreciate your instinctive talents and harness these talents in synergistic ways to drive productivity.  The ability to understand your natural talents – especially your Unique Ability – will allow you to be highly motivated, creative and focused.  Research substantiates that human instinct is the power behind actions.  It is the source of mental or conative energy.  Historically, assessment tools have measured cognitive (IQ) and the affective (personality) parts of the mind.  While these tools are helpful in selecting, training and managing people, they miss instinctive talents.  Understanding instincts, combined with intelligence and personality, will dramatically help you as you move forward in your career.

natural stengths kolbe index

The Kolbe A Index™ is focused on your natural advantage – the degree of intensity in each of the following action modes.

  • Fact Finder                  The way one gathers and shares information
  • Follow Through         The way one sorts or stores information
  • Quick Start                  The way one deals with risk and uncertainty
  • Implementer              The way we handle space and tangible solutions

You have 100% of your mental energy and creativity distributed across the action modes listed above.  A corresponding number from 1 to 10 in the Kolbe A Index™ determines your mode of operation or modus operandi (MO).  As you discover your unique MO, you begin to understand and appreciate your instinctive or natural ways in taking action.  The first, and most important, step is discovering your Unique Ability.  Abraham Maslow, the guru of self actualization discovered that each person seeks “to be true to his or her own nature, to trust him or herself, to be authentic, spontaneous, honestly expressive, to look for sources in his or her actions”.

I would like to suggest a six step process in helping you discover your Unique Ability:

  1. Unique Ability Question:  Begin by asking yourself what activities give you energy, purpose and passion?  You may also wish to consider asking other people who know you the same question.
  2. The Kolbe A Index™:  It will allow you to understand your natural and instinctive talents.
  3. Unique Ability Habits:  These are the things that you do automatically to produce your best results.  You develop these habits over the course of your lifetime.  Begin by listing the habits.  Pick the ones that reflect your core values.
  4. Unique Ability Statement:  Consider expressing your Unique Ability in one sentence.  Begin with words such as “My Unique Ability is characterized by my superior ability to …” 
  5. Unique Ability Future:  Envision yourself at some point in the future spending 100% of your time on your Unique Ability.  This skill of visioning is a powerful process of becoming clear about your ideal future.  Visioning is understood and appreciated by top athletes, entertainers and successful people in all walks of life.  Visioning your Unique Ability will give you a sense of clarity, confidence, purpose and passion.
  6. Unique Ability Goal Setting:  Goal setting is a powerful process of becoming clear about your ideal future, designing an action plan to get there, launching into action and persisting until you reach your destination.  This final step of the Unique Ability process is crucial.

Focus on Your Uniqueness – Delegate Everything Else. 

Through The Strategic Coach program, I learned that successful entrepreneurs remain focused totally on their Unique Ability and delegate everything else.  These individuals delegate work to others who possess a Unique Ability in those areas.  There are people sitting around you today whose Unique Abilities differ from yours.  Tasks that drain your energy, fill the bucket for them.

If you are frustrated, bored and losing energy, it is imperative that you discover your natural strengths…your Unique Ability.  Socrates once said “Know thyself.”  Good luck!

About the Author

Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA is the CEO of Beyond Insurance and is recognized as an industry leader having been named a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as well as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.” Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level.  Since 2007, the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed individuals and organizations as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace.

 

The Secret of Unique Ability and Finding the ZONE!

December 26, 2018

Editor’s Note: Focusing on our unique abilities runs counter to all we were taught as children. In our two-part series, we look at the relationship between unique ability and success.  In part 1 we define unique ability and activity zones. Part 2 will focus on how to determine your unique ability.

Are you aware of your natural strengths? Your Unique Ability?  If so, are you harnessing this talent in synergistic ways to maximize your performance?

A number of years ago, I had the good fortune of being introduced to Dan Sullivan, Founder & President of The Strategic Coach (www.strategiccoach.com) – an organization focused on helping entrepreneurs reach new levels of success and happiness.  The Strategic Coach Program has played an important role in the way I think, act and feel about my business and personal life as well as how I mentor others.  A key principle of Dan’s teachings is the concept of Unique Ability – a way of describing a powerful force that is at the very core of who you are as an individual.  Every person who has ever lived has a Unique Ability, though most people are not conscious of it.  Because of this lack of awareness, these people have not experienced the infinite rewards that come from being able to harness and develop their natural talents and pursue their passions wholeheartedly.  The more you are able to recognize your Unique Ability and shape your life around it, the more freedom, success and happiness you will experience.

Your Unique Ability has four characteristics:

  1. A superior ability that other people notice and value
  2. Love doing it and want to do it as much as possible
  3. Energizing for you and others around you
  4. You keep getting better, never running out of possibilities for further improvement

Most individuals are not able to identify their Unique Ability, let alone concentrate on it, because they are trapped by childhood training.  We learn at a young age that the secret to success in life is working on our weaknesses.  Unfortunately, it is the focus on weaknesses that results in a sense of deficiency, failure and guilt.  As a result, our lives are filled with frustration, wasted potential and missed opportunity.  Letting go of these “lack of abilities” to focus on the things you love is the secret to maximizing your performance.

Through Dan Sullivan’s teaching, we learn that all people spend their lives in four zones of activity – incompetence, competence, excellence and Unique Ability.

Incompetent Activities:   These represent tasks that make you feel frustrated and stressed because you are just not good at them.  What incompetent activities would you be happy to get rid of?  What incompetent tasks drain your confidence?

Competent Activities:  These are activities you are merely adequate at conducting.  There are a lot of other people who could do these tasks with greater success and less effort than you.  It is competent activities that create boredom in your life.

Excellent Activities:  You have superior skill in conducting these activities.  People can count on you to accomplish these tasks.  You may have even developed a reputation for your capability in these areas.  However, deep down, you do not have a burning passion for these activities.  Even with all of the external positive reinforcement, these activities do not fuel your passion.

Unique Ability Activities:  These are the activities that create energy and enthusiasm.  When you engage in them, you bubble over with excitement.  You could do these activities all day long and keep going.  They give you endless possibilities for improvement, no matter how skilled you are at them.

Your success or failure in life depends upon how much time you spend in each of the zones.  Unsuccessful people spend most of their time in the incompetent zone.  Successful people spend most of their time in zones of competence and excellence.  And, “geniuses” – those who achieve extraordinary results during their lives – spend almost all of their lives in the Unique Ability Zone.

About the Author

Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA is the CEO of Beyond Insurance and is recognized as an industry leader having been named a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as well as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.” Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level.  Since 2007, the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed individuals and organizations as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace.

 

 

5 Essential Steps to Complete Your Own Business Process Reengineering

December 23, 2018

Editor’s Note: In the first part of our series on business process reengineering, we examined how Dunkin’ (formerly Dunkin’ Donuts) remade and reengineered itself several times. Now, in Part II, we look at 5 essential steps you need to in order to complete your own business process reengineering.

While there is no question that Dunkin’ has benefited from process reengineering, there are other notable success stories including National Geographic, Fort Motor Company, Netflix, Xerox, Hyundai, Old Spice, KFC, and Kelly Blue Book, to name a few.  In each case, according to branding expert Jim Motevelli, the following lessons were learned[1]:

  1. Forget the Sacred Cow.  Even the most respected business cannot rest on its laurels.
  2. Change the concept. Take a step back. Does your basic process model need a makeover?
  3. Think long-term. Delayed gratification can pay off big time.
  4. Look ahead. Search for new platforms and learn to work effectively within them.

Bobby Reagan of Reagan Consulting (www.reaganconsulting.com), a national insurance consultancy, states, “One of the most important skill sets that insurance agency principals will need to have in the coming years is the ability to adapt and to bring about change that may represent new ways of doing business or ways to bring about needed performance improvement.  As we all know, this is not easily done and requires the ability to cast and sell vision, increase and/or elevate staffing, adapt or reinvent procedures, embrace and expand the use of technology, and much more.  Employees naturally resist change but the resistance to change will be deadly.  Those that can overcome this resistance and achieve needed change will have a material competitive advantage.”

If business process reengineering is to work, an organization must transform[2] from:

  1. Boss to customer focus
  2. Controlled workers to empowered, involved process owners and decision makers
  3. Activity-based work to a results orientation
  4. Scorekeeping to leading and teaching
  5. Functional to process orientation
  6. Complex to simple, streamlined processes
  7. Guarding the status quo to inventing new systems and processes and looking toward the future

Business Process Reengineering Case Studies

I have the honor of working hand-in-hand with a number of agencies that have chosen to utilize Beyond Insurance as a partner in business process reengineering.  While there are many wonderful case studies, I am highlighting RiskSOURCE Clark Theders (West Chester, OH) and Sterling Insurance Group (Sterling Heights, MI).

In 2009, Jonathan Theders, CRA, CHSP, CEO of RiskSOURCE Clark Theders (www.risksource.com), felt frustrated and stuck in the commodity trap.

“It was the realization of what we didn’t like about the business (i.e., bid, quote, hope, and pray), that made us realize we needed to reinvent ourselves,” says Theders.  “In January 2010, we drew a line in the sand and committed to hold ourselves to a higher standard…to institute a process, not product-oriented approach to client acquisition and retention, entitled RiskSOURCE™.  The past seven years have been transformational.  While a 98 percent new business hit ratio and only one lost client are great, it is our daily satisfaction of going beyond insurance to gain trusted advisor status that fuels our passion for the future.”

RiskSOURCE Clark Theders was recognized as the 2011 Rough Notes magazine “Agency of the Year.”

After losing a close friend’s account on product and price, Joe Haney, CRA, CEO of Sterling Insurance Group (www.sterlingagency.com) reached his breaking point.  Like Theders, he made a conscious decision to redesign and reinvent how his firm performed its daily work.  After instituting RiskPath™ — a proprietary client acquisition and retention platform, the firm coined a term, Rethink™.

“Rethink™ represented a challenge to my staff, clients, prospects, and carriers to change the game so Sterling Insurance Group may deliver a more meaningful customer experience,” says Haney.  “Since we chose to reengineer ourselves, we have seen a noticeable improvement in key performance metrics, our ability to attract and retain talent, and our corporate culture.  RiskPath™ and Rethink™ allow our people to feel better about ourselves.  We are having fun again.”

Five Steps to Business Process Reengineering

I would like to suggest five essential steps to business process reengineering:

Step One – Self-Examination:  While you may have a gut feeling that business process reengineering is needed for your agency, I suggest a diagnostic process focused on an examination of key performance indicators, most noteworthy, organic agency growth and customer experience benchmarking.

Beyond Insurance has a complimentary Organic Growth Agency Survey focused on process reengineering.  You are welcome to contact Matt O’Neill, Managing Director of the Beyond Insurance Institute, moneill@beyondinsurance.com, or go to www.beyondinsurance.com/OrganicGrowthSurvey.

Step Two – Business Visioning and Goal Setting: Your ability to create a future vision of success is essential to organizational growth.  Visioning will allow you to see yourself at some point in the future, while goals offer a roadmap to reach these visions.  Step Two answers the question, “What is the purpose of reengineering and why are we considering doing it?”

Step Three – Pinpointing Opportunities:  Your decision to reengineer will pay dividends when you are laser-focused on the identification of areas for improvement.

Step Four – All on Board:  Before business process reengineering begins, it is critical that you garner employee buy-in to the future vision and opportunities.  As a leader, you should encourage your team to feel comfortable and confident in voicing opinions.

Step Five – Strategy Map:  A requirement for your agency transformation is a strategy map that spells out the process of reengineering.  Whatever the issue at hand, it should also be judged objectively against industry standards including metrics and best practices.

In today’s increasingly competitive environment, you are wise to rethink who you are and where you want to go.  If your path is fruitful and on target, congratulations.  If not, business process reengineering may be the answer.

About the Author

Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA is the CEO of Beyond Insurance and is recognized as an industry leader having been named a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as well as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.” Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level.  Since 2007, the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed individuals and organizations as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace.

 

 

[1] Motavelli, Jim. “About Face: Companies that Reinvented Themselves.” Success magazine, 19 November 2013.  http://www.success.com/article/about-face-companies-that-reinvented-themselves

[2] http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/management/Bun-Comp/Business-Process-Reengineering.html#ixzz4SdoRsUbZ

From Dunkin’ Donuts to Simply Dunkin’, A Look at Business Process Reengineering

December 18, 2018

After successfully operating the Industrial Luncheon Service, which served factory workers during World War II from mobile carts, William Rosenberg opened the first Dunkin’ Donuts store 10 miles outside Boston in Quincy, MA, in 1950[1].  From the beginning, the organization’s image reflected that of its founder…a hustler and street fighter.  Of interest, Rosenberg had little use for formal education, dropping out of school in the 8th grade.

An early storefront was situated across the street from a Ford assembly plant in Somerville, MA, guaranteeing him hundreds of local factory workers.  It was Rosenberg’s plan to cater to construction workers, firemen, policemen, machinists, and others in trade occupations.  While the coffee was hot, cheap, and served in seconds, it was the arsenal of baked goods and Fred the Baker’s famous “Time to Make the Donuts” television spots that put Dunkin’ Donuts on the map.  Following the lead of Howard Johnson’s 28 flavors of ice cream and Einstein’s and other bagel houses, Rosenberg responded with “52 flavors of donuts” and bagels in glass cases.  With a focus on baked goods and the blue-collar workers of New England and the mid-Atlantic, Dunkin’ Donuts built a business model that fueled positive growth for decades.

But the looming specter of the Seattle-based Starbucks and Rosenberg’s retirement in 1988 heralded a new era for the doughnut house[2].  One cup at a time, Dunkin’ Donuts began to reengineer itself with the goal of shedding its blue-collar trappings.  “Time to make donuts” was pink-slipped in 1997.  And the 50-year-old “dunkin’ donut,” which came with a handle for dipping in coffee, had disappeared by 2003.  As this was the emblem of its working-class patronage, the process of transformation was evident.

By 2006, Dunkin’ Donuts had a serious choice to make.  It could become more like Starbucks, or, in true New England fashion, redefine coffee.  It chose the latter, and since then, has been one of the largest distributors in the country.  The process of reinventing itself was based upon a focus away from the doldrums of doughnuts and toward the exciting world of beverage innovation.  This culture shift was based on research that divided consumers into two distinct groups – those who choose where they will buy breakfast based on food, and those who will decide based on beverage selection.

As Dunkin’ Donuts expands its roots west, its coffee and other drinks now account for more than 60 percent of its sales.  While the chain still boasts some guilty pleasures such as the double chocolate cake doughnut, it is now reengineering itself to become an upstairs-downstairs coffee house that attracts white collar, health-conscious customers who prefer low-fat blueberry muffins and yogurt-based smoothies.  In 2016, the iconic “America Runs on Dunkin’” tagline was replaced with a more modern jingle that is meant to build on an emotional connection with customers.  “Keep On” is a celebration of the perseverance of both the customer and the brand.  The most recent reengineering step occurred in September of 2018 when Dunkin’ Donuts announced a name change. The word donut was to be dropped from the name. Going forth, the company will be referred to simply as Dunkin’. Dunkin’ Donuts is a wonderful example of an organization that seized the opportunity to reengineer, reinvent, and transform itself.

Business Process Reengineering

So, what is business process reengineering?  And why is it so important to you and your agency?

First introduced by field expert Michael Hammer in a 1990 article in Harvard Business Review, the term “business process reengineering” (BPR) involves the examination and redesign of business processes and workflow in an organization.  A business process is a set of related work activities that are performed by employees to achieve business goals.  In simplistic terms, a business process is the way you and your team perform your work, while BPR is the process of changing the way you do your work to better accomplish the goals of your business.

The intent of process reengineering is to make your agency more flexible, responsive, efficient, and effective for your customers, carriers, employees, and other stakeholders.  Business process reengineering[3] requires fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance that support client acquisition, retention, and cross-sell success.

Editor’s Note: No doubt business process reengineering is critical in order to adapt, survive and grow. In part 2 of our series, we look at several other case studies of businesses that reengineered and 5 essential steps for you to complete your own business process reengineering.

About the Author

Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA is the CEO of Beyond Insurance and is recognized as an industry leader having been named a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as well as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.” Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level.  Since 2007, the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed individuals and organizations as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace.

[1] Contois, Emily. “The Dunkin’ Donuts Origin Story: A Meaningful Beginning.”  https://emilycontois.com/2013/01/14/the-dunkin-donuts-origin-story-a-meaningful-beginning/

[2] Curtis, Bryan. “Dunkin’ Donuts. A more perfect pastry.”  http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_middlebrow/2005/03/dunkin_donuts.html

[3] “Business Process Reengineering.  Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_process_reengineering